CRC funded reports
The Council received reports from 12 completed research projects during the year 1984-85. Summaries of these reports are given below. These reports are held by the Australian Institute of Criminology's JV Barry Library and are available on inter-library loan. For full bibliographic information on any report, search the Library's Catalogue.
- The dynamics of truant behaviour - an initial study
- The place of prosecution in consumer protection
- Community validation study of OARS Aboriginal halfway house
- Implications of memory research for criminal law procedure
- Recognition and intervention strategies among criminogenic runaway and homeless youth
- Victorian sentencing law
- Private policing in Australia
- Feasibility of the use of research in the design of programs for the rehabilitation of offenders
- Sentenced to life: management of life sentence prisoners
- White collar crime: the special investigation as a method of enforcement of company law - use and utility
- Group therapy for men violent toward their mates
- Juvenile aid bureau: an evaluation of police involvement with juvenile offenders and child abuse in Queensland
Report titles: Skipping School: An Examination of Truancy in Victorian Secondary Schools; Student Perspectives on Truancy (PDF 6.5MB)
Grantee: Victorian Institute of Secondary Education
Criminology Research Council grant ; (16/82)
Of particular interest to the Criminology Research Council was whether truant behaviour had any relationship to juvenile delinquency. Using a path analysis technique, longitudinal data (obtained from a panel of 2,378 young people in Victoria) revealed that the relationship between these two behaviours was one of non-causal association. Both truancy and juvenile delinquency were related to similar underlying school-related factors. The status of students within schools was found to be closely connected with involvement in truant behaviour or juvenile delinquency. This status, defined by student perceptions of educational achievement compared with their peers and occupational aspirations for the future, contributes to a key aspect of student perceptions about school, namely its relevance, purpose and importance.
Those students who had lower levels of relative educational achievement and more negative perceptions of the importance of school and schooling were more likely to be recorded by schools as truants, admit involvement in truancy and have acquired a police record.
The study empirically examined a theoretical model of truancy which incorporated key features of students' family backgrounds, the structure of schools, the status of students within schools and peer groups. Data presented suggest that the problem of truancy (and by implication, juvenile delinquency) needs to be addressed by a school-based prevention rather than control approach. Given that the behaviour was found to be largely episodic, early identification and diagnosis procedures need to be discouraged. Truancy needs to be addressed in ways that do not reinforce family dysfunction or deficit notions about individual students. Schools need to implement initiatives that explicitly alter everyday school practices, procedures and curriculum policies such that all students are provided with opportunities to have a rewarding and successful schooling experience. It is through such structural intervention in our education system that the sources of troublesome behaviours among youth might be more readily addressed.
Report title: The Place of Prosecution in Consumer Protection (PDF 3MB)
Grantee: Dr J.B. Braithwaite, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Sociology, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra
Criminology Research Council grant ; (3/83)
Dr John Braithwaite, while he was Director of the Australian Federation of Consumer Organizations, completed with Criminology Research Council funding a report entitled The Role of Prosecution in Consumer Protection (Canberra: Australian Federation of Consumer Organizations, 1984) with Ms Susan Vale and Professor Brent Fisse as co-authors. Dr Braithwaite and Ms Vale have produced another publication supported by the grant entitled 'Law Enforcement by Australian Consumer Affairs Agencies' which will soon be appearing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology.
The research looks at prosecution as a consumer protection device and its use by consumer affairs agencies in Australia. It was found that for every consumer affairs conviction in Australia, there are more than 200 written complaints which do not lead to a conviction and conservatively over 2,000 unwritten complaints.
South Australia was found to be the leading State in both per capita and absolute numbers of convictions.
New South Wales was the only jurisdiction which showed a consistent drop in consumer affairs convictions during most of the past decade. However, in Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, prosecutions for substantive consumer affairs offences are, and always have been, virtually non-existent.
Western Australia was the only jurisdiction with a significant prosecution program for product safety offences. New South Wales, and to a lesser extent South Australia and Western Australia, were found to be the only jurisdictions with any sort of record of prosecuting hire purchase, door-to-door sales and pyramid selling offences. Federal enforcement under the Trade Practices Act led in the area of false advertising. Price control convictions were a significant area of enforcement in New South Wales only. New South Wales and Western Australia had the most aggressive prosecution programs with respect to offences related to motor vehicle dealers, and most of South Australia's comparatively heavy prosecution activity related to residential tenancies enforcement.
The report laments the infrequent and unsophisticated use of prosecution in Australian consumer affairs. Criminal investigation training for consumer affairs officers is advocated as well as administrative reorganisation of consumer affairs agencies. Fundamentally, the report suggests that consumer affairs agencies need an enforcement strategy which is less reactive and more proactive. The requirement that prosecutions by the Trade Practices Commission be approved by the Minister was criticised. Since the publication of the report, this practice has been placed under review by the Attorney-General.
The report criticises the exceptionally low penalties available under consumer affairs statutes in all jurisdictions and the almost exclusive reliance on the cash fine as a sanction. Equity fines, corporate probation, community service orders and adverse publicity orders are advocated as alternative sanctions. The report was also critical of most consumer affairs agencies for not having a prosecution policy. Since the report was written, some jurisdictions have written consumer protection enforcement policies for the first time and others have introduced, or are in the process of introducing, bills to increase penalties under consumer affairs statutes.
Report title: Reactions to the Karinga Project 1976-1983
Grantee: Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services of S.A. Inc., South Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (14/82)
In 1976 a halfway house for Aboriginal ex-offenders, known as Karinga Hostel, was established by the Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Service to accommodate up to eight Aboriginal youths and men. At that time some 154 objections had been raised against the hostel's establishment by local residents in the Adelaide suburb of Payneham. In 1983 an attempt was made by two researchers, Dr K. Rigby and Ms M. Mune, to describe the impact of the hostel on the community during the seven years of its history. A 58-page report is now available. The main features are summarised below.
A sample of 113 of the residents living relatively close to Karinga were interviewed. Of these, 35 indicated that they had protested against the hostel's establishment in 1976. Most of these 'protesters' recalled having been originally anxious and fearful both for their own safety and that of others. However, by 1983, those fears or worries had become significantly reduced: only 29 per cent of such respondents were experiencing some feeling of threat. At that stage the judgments made by the 'protesters' concerning the Karinga project tended to be similar to those made by residents who had not protested.
In general, the conduct of the occupants of Karinga was not seen as different from that of other people in the local community. Only 8 per cent of the respondents judged their conduct to be 'worse than most'. A minority (19 per cent) saw the neighbourhood as having become 'less pleasant' because of Karinga. Although some residents would have preferred the Karinga Hostel to have been established 'elsewhere', there was a broad acceptance of the project and support for the way it had been managed.
Community opinion suggested a widespread belief that it was difficult to help many prisoners to reform, especially Aboriginals. At the same time there was considerable support for the idea of halfway houses. Racist views about Aboriginals were comparatively rare, but many respondents were pessimistic and uncertain about how white society could improve the situations for Aboriginals.
The main implications for this study are, first, that projects like Karinga must expect resistance from residents who are genuinely fearful and not necessarily racist or punitive in their social attitudes. These fears need to be acknowledged, however irrational their bases might be. The findings of this study that such fears are very likely to subside with the passage of time should increase one's confidence in offering reassurance. Nevertheless, it was evident that residual fears and suspicions expressed by a minority could easily grow and spread if any untoward incident involving residents of the hostel were seen to occur. The utmost vigilance and care on the part of hostel staff and management are essential. Finally, although 'racism' was not seen as a major factor in this inquiry, there were, nevertheless some intolerable examples of prejudice, e.g. 'Aboriginals should be in the wild where they belong. Give Australians a chance'. The need for continual community education in the area of race relations is clearly vital.
Report title: Implications of memory research for criminal law procedure (PDF 3.7MB)
Grantee: Dr D.M. Thomson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Monash University, Victoria
Criminology Research Council grant ; (23/81)
The research program focused on three areas:
Perceptual and memory demands and capactities of witnesses with particular reference to identification. There were three different aspects of identification researched: the development of computer software and hardware to portray a wanted person, the effect of context, age, and retention interval on recognition, and a comparison of live line-up v. photo displays.
Computer drawn faces (Compufit) involves the development of computer graphics to enable life-like representation of persons; this method of representation allows accurate portrayal of gestures, colour and movement. Reasonable representations in black and white have been achieved, and this has later been extended to coloured representations.
It was found that retention interval had minimal effect on identification of target persons but there was an interaction with context and retention interval with respect to false identifications - the longer the retention interval the greater the false identifications. It was also found that identification from live line-ups was more accurate than from photo displays.
- Perceptual and memory difficulties of jurors. In a series of experiments 'jurors' listened to or read details about another person. Sometimes 'jurors' were instructed to forget certain details. it was found that extremely biased statements could be ignored but not moderately biased ones.
- Age of criminal responsibility. It was concluded from a view of the psychological literature that children's behaviour undergoes qualitative changes at 5, 12 and 15 and a cut-off point at any of these ages could be justified.
This research resulted in the following published and unpublished papers:
- Thomson, D.M. (1984), 'Toward a more efficient judicial system - observations of an experiment psychologist', in M. Nixon (ed.), Issues in Psychological Practice, Longmans.
- Thomson, D.M. (in press), 'Psychological fiction in the court room: And they did not live happily ever after', in G. Eames (ed.), Criminal Law Advocacy.
- Thomson, D.M. and Watson, W. (1984), 'In search of the psychological correlates of criminal responsibility: fool's errand or enlightened approach', in R. Cummins and Z. Burgess (eds), Age of Criminal Responsibility in Children, Australian Psychological Society, Melbourne.
- Thomson, D.M., 'Context effects in recognition memory: develomental aspects', paper presented at the Experimental Psychology Conference, Deakin University, 18-20 May 1984.
- Topley, M. and Thomson, D.M., 'Forgetting in a person impression formation task', paper presented at the Experimental Psychology Conference, Deakin University, 18-20 May 1984.
- Turnbull, D.C. and Thomson, D.M., 'Eye witness testimony: photographic vs lineups', paper presented at the Experimental Psychology Conference, Deakin University, 18-20 May 1984.
Report title: Canary in a Coalmine: Prostitution, Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Crime and Suicide among Youthful Offenders (PDF 7.7MB)
Grantee: Associate Professor P.R. Wilson, Chairperson of Sociology, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (21/82)
A total of 36 extensive case histories were collected from young people who had been involved in serious criminal activity, alcohol and drug abuse, male and female prostitution and from those who had attempted suicide. The age range was from 14 years to 18 years of age, with equal numbers of male and female participants. Placement in one of the ascribed groups was dependent on agency-identification of the particular set of behaviours ascribed to that group. Discussions were held in conjunction with the detailed collection of the case histories. The results yielded extensive analysis of the development, maintenance and consequences of participation in these activities and the young participants provided their own recommendations for changes to the criminal justice system and for treatment procedures for themselves and others. This study has provided invaluable data on the thoughts and actions of 'alienated' youth in Australia. Specific recommendations included youth-run halfway houses, therapeutic communities for severely alienated young people, and special programs for alcohol and drug dependent young people.
Report title: Sentencing in Victoria: State and Federal Law, 3 vols.
Grantees: R.G. Fox, Reader, Faculty of Law, Monash University, and Mr A. Freiberg, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Monash University, Victoria
Criminology Research Council grant ; (2/79)
This project resulted in the publication of a book (in three volumes) entitled Sentencing in Victoria: State and Federal Law.
The research undertaken attempted to examine, as thoroughly as possible, every sentencing option under State and Federal law available to Victorian criminal courts. This constitutes the central part of the report (Chapters 4-10). However, to set the measures in context it was first necessary, in the opening part of the research report, to explore the manner in which sentencing authority is distributed between Federal and State authorities under existing constitutional arrangements and how, within each jurisdiction, the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government contribute to the imposition and execution of the sanction which the offender is obliged to undergo. General principles of interpretation of penalty provisions also had to be examined (Chapter 1).
The second chapter deals with the procedure at the sentencing stage of a criminal trial with emphasis on problems which arise out of the need to clarify the actual basis of a sentence, particularly in those situations in which the facts of the offence and the circumstances of the offender have not been fully brought out either because a guilty plea has been entered, or because the information was not brought out in the trial proper.
The third chapter documents the appellate process in respect of Federal and State offences. The position of Crown appeals against sentence as well as those of the accused are examined and the role of prerogative writs as an additional means of reviewing sentences is discussed. The principles of appellate review of sentences are covered in some detail.
The penultimate chapter addresses itself to the general considerations which the Full Court of Victoria has indicated bear upon the exercise of any sentencing discretion. The chapter deals with the significance of matters such as the nature of the crime, the character of the offender, the offender's responses to the charges, the effect of the sanction on others, the need to avoid disparity in sentences, and so one. These matters are of importance and of general application, but much of the research material had to be garnered from the unreported decisions of the Full Court which had to be tracked down back to 1971.
The concluding chapter deals with the patterns of sentencing in the more important or common indictable offences prosecuted in the superior courts of Victoria. The chapter provides statistical summaries of the sentencing practices of the courts in respect of each of the main offence categories and discussed the guidelines provided to other sentences by the Full Court in the handling of each class of offence.
Report title: Private Security in Australia (PDF 5.2MB)
Grantee: A.S. Rees, Deputy Security Controller, Parliament House, Canberra
Criminology Research Council grant ; (3/81)
The research associated with this report attempted to achieve a broad review of private security in Australia, its breadth, its insinuation in this society and its strengths and weaknesses. To achieve these goals questionnaires were used to obtain information from the private security industry in every Australian state. The response rates were acceptable and probably about what can be expected from such a survey.
The definition of private security was a vital element in this research because it became obvious that private security in Australia should be broadly broken into two areas: the 'in-house security industry' and the 'contract security industry'. it was the latter part of the industry that the research pursued.
Matters such as the relationships between the police and private security and the philosophical differences between the two have been addressed by the report. Real problems which exist in this relatively embryonic industry are identified. These are the possibilities of corruption in the industry, ineffectual usage of the industry and weapons handling. All of these matters are serious for the community and they are flagged for closer consideration.
The report reviews the laws and regulations current in respect of private security and has some critical comments to make about 'conventional wisdoms' the industry and perhaps the community hold about private security and the law. The security industry 'representative' organisations are looked at closely and the report suggests they are more concerned with form than substance.
It has been suggested that the private security industry is the source of personnel for industrial espionage, the increasing usage of 'bugging' as a means of gathering data and perhaps more sinisterly the infiltration of unions by certain politically based organisations. The report comments on all of these matters and gives examples of the nature and type of incidents which typify these problems. Sample responses to the questionnaire circulation are included in the report and while these are limited they give clear indications and trends and unquestionably indicate the need for education and standardisation within the private security industry.
Other recent reports, notably the 1984 Victorian Government Report of the Working Party to Review the operations of the Private Agents Act 1966, are considered in this report. The views of most Australian State police forces have also been obtained in respect of 'Private Security in Australia' and these are considered against other findings.
The report suggests overall that private security has considerable positive potential for the community but it is drifting into a situation, influenced by factors which are symptomatic of community deficiencies. The report has identified some alarming aspects of the private security industry as a whole but its message finally is that more research and action is needed now.
Report title: Personality Characteristics of Dishonest Property Offenders - implications for Rehabilitation Training (PDF 4.15MB)
Grantees: J. Pasmore, Psychologist, Research and Evaluation Branch, Department of Children's Services, Queensland, and Mr T.R. Dorey, Manager - Prison Programs, Prisons Department, Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (2/82)
Three hundred and eighty seven prisoners in Queensland participated in the study by completing the Cattell Sixteen Personality Factor Test (16 P.F.), the Holland Vocational Preference Inventory (V.P.I.) and a questionnaire relating to criminal history, and demographic information. in addition, prison staff rated 323 of the participating prisoners on nine 9point scales relating to honest, dishonest, and other behaviour.
The data were analysed by means of discriminant regression and factor analysis. Results indicate that significant personality differences exist among different categories of dishonest property offender, and also between each category of dishonest property offender, honest offence prisoners and non-offenders. In a cross-validation paradigm, the discriminant weights derived were able to correctly classify cases not included in the prediction analysis, up 93 per cent above the rate expected from chance. Over the 11 analyses conducted, the mean validation prediction rate was 35 per cent above chance expectations.
Results from the factor and regression analyses, which included ratings of prisoners by prison staff together with prisoner personality data and criminal history data, suggest that certain personality variables found in this study to be related to untrustworthy behaviour, are either not observed or not seen to be related to dishonesty. Personality profiles of Fraud, Misappropriation offenders, Robbery and Extortion offenders and Theft, Break and Enter offenders found in the recent study have been compared and this information examined to reveal the underlying motivation related to offending.
This information has implications for the design of treatment programs likely to maximise the opportunity for rehabilitation for these offender types. The development of training programs which contain modules providing the opportunity for rehabilitation, is considered to be of high priority. The research findings point to probable motivations involved, and could be of help in the formulation of offender training and education programs.
Implications for rehabilitation training
While the difficulty of the task of providing an effective training program for the rehabilitation of property offenders is not underestimated, the knowledge of some of the characteristics of dishonest property offenders provides clues as to the training components likely to be necessary for successful rehabilitation.
From the findings, it appears that independence and seclusiveness in decision-making, together with a lack of family training in sound decision-making, appear to be major factors in the personality of most dishonest property offenders. This being so, it seems likely that it would be useful to evaluate training programs that provide training and experience in effective decision-making, and in being less independent and seclusive in so doing.
From the responses to the interviews in this study it is clear that dishonest property offenders are prone to fantasies on theft-related themes. Clearly such fantasies are, at times, 'acted-out'. It therefore follows that in any rehabilitation training program, it would be wise to include modules which explore such fantasies. It would also be a good idea to enable trainees to test such fantasies against reality and to explore their likely role in predisposing the trainee to future offending.
The role of over-protection in the development of the personality of offenders in the theft and fraud categories also needs to be considered in the design of a treatment program. It appears that an over-protected childhood is likely to have deprived these offenders of the opportunity of developing an adequate value system and a sense of responsibility which would enable them to function without resort to dishonesty. It follows that any training program would be more likely to succeed if a way can be found to provide opportunities enabling offenders to develop their value system and to become more responsible. Here, it is likely that program content structured in ways that provide the opportunity for trainees to examine their present value system, the motivation and encouragement to change those aspects of their behaviour likely to lead to further offending, and the opportunity for the enhancement of those aspects which are positive, would be most constructive.
In the light of this research, the authors are at present developing a training program incorporating modules targeted at the development and enhancement of skills likely to be necessary for the rehabilitation of specific categories of property offender. The next stage in assessing the utility of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment programs which are based on the information on offender type obtained. Such evaluation results, if encouraging, could have wider implications for methodology in the future design of rehabilitation training for other categories of offender.
Report title: Sentenced to Life: Management of Life Sentence Prisoners in New South Wales Gaols
Grantees: G.L. Gartrell, Research Assistant, History Department, Macquarie University, New South Wales, and J. Aitkin, Probation and Parole Officer, Department of Corrective Services, New South Wales
Criminology Research Council grant ; (7/84)
The aim of the study was to establish biographical profiles of 250 life sentence prisoners, including 11 Governor's Pleasure (G.P.) detainees, so that any changes in prisoners' family and personal ties during incarceration could be examined. information about educational, training and vocational opportunities offered to lifers and G.P.s was collected and factors affecting the taking up of these opportunities were examined.
Members of the sample who were released during the period under study were surveyed so that their post-release experiences could be examined in the light of the aims of pre-release programs. The effects of imprisonment generally on these subjects were also examined.
The collection of these data became necessary when the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services adopted a policy of individualising sentences of those serving life and G.P. sentences. Reduction of security rating and progress towards release is heavily influenced by individual performance during incarceration.
From the beginning of 1981 until the end of 1983 the Indeterminate Sentence Committee operated as an advisory body to the Corrective Services Commission in the management of life sentence and G.P. prisoners. In February 1984 the Release on Licence Board was inaugurated and its responsibility is to make recommendations on the management and releasability of life sentence and G.P. prisoners. The final responsibility for Board recommendations rests with the Chairman, who is a Judge of the District Court.
Recent guidelines indicate that a life sentence in New South Wales is approximately 10 years and can be reduced to around eight years in exceptional circumstances. As the first four to six years are generally served in maximum security gaols it is important that appropriate counselling, educational and vocational opportunities are available.
The findings indicate that the majority of the prisoners surveyed in N.S.W. gaols were from city backgrounds, and the largest single group were from the Sydney/Newcastle/Wollongong area. Seventy-five per cent of the sample were reared by both parents and 5 per cent grew up in institutions. Approximately 25 per cent experienced family break-up; over 40 per cent were first-born children and approximately 38 per cent of the sample were members of families of five or more children. Many of the inmates experienced conditions of severe emotional and physical deprivation during their childhood.
Almost half of the sample were married or in defacto relationships at the time of the offence. For a high percentage of the men, defacto relationships are the norm and are regarded as akin to marriage by the parties concerned. Over 10 per cent of the men changed their marital status during imprisonment, entering marriages or defacto relationships. There is a tendency for marriages to break down with increasing length of sentence.
Over 90 per cent had left school by their fifteenth year. Almost 30 per cent had completed basic education and over 65 per cent were without formal educational qualifications. Nearly 80 per cent of the sample had been involved in manual work of all types, with over 75 per cent of the men having done unskilled manual labour. Almost 75 per cent of the men had a record of steady employment before coming to gaol. A detailed analysis of the remaining 25 per cent revealed that they had experienced some of a range of major personal - and environmental problems. Around 20 per cent of the men had trade skills but not all had completed their training.
Despite pressures which militate against the taking up of educational and/or vocational training in gaols it was found that those who lacked basic formal training the most interest in educational and trade training in gaol.
More than 2 5 per cent of the sample had no previous record and 75 per cent had records as juvenile offenders. Fourteen per cent of the men had been involved in serious crime prior to their life or G.P. sentence. Analysis of the lives of the men who were first offenders demonstrated that the majority had experienced serious problems in their personal and interpersonal understandings, especially related to sexuality and basic social skills.
Just over 40 per cent of the sample were aged 19-25 at the time of the offence. There is a decreasing tendency with increasing age for men to be involved in armed robbery and to a lesser extent, attacks on people other than family members. Offences against the family increase with an increase in the age of the offender, lessening after the 30s.
Over half of the survey sample was within the First eight years of sentence. Of those who had served longer than 13 years all were released during the survey period or subsequently, with the exception of the two who are contained at Morisset Hospital (which is a mental hospital). Over 72 per cent of the sample used a weapon against their victim and almost 25 per cent used physical force such as body blows and kicks. Very few offences were premeditated, coldly planned murders.
Governor's Pleasure detainees tend to serve shorter sentences than life sentence prisoners. Their progress and release is dependent on their receiving a satisfactory psychiatric report.
Experiences and reactions of those who had been released were as varied as had been their earlier performances. Post release problems included the difficulty of accounting for the gap in their life, adjusting to freedom, living with other people and sharing (prison life is very structured and disciplined). Complaints about the prison system range from the difficulty of living by strict rules when those rules changed often, to having to adjust when educational and/or vocational programs were terminated for what appeared to be reasons beyond the control of the inmate. There was strong support for counselling and group activities aimed at developing social skills, and almost all had favourable comments about the work release program.
White collar crime: the special investigation as a method of enforcement of company law - use and utility
Report title: White Collar Crime: the Special Investigation as a Method of Enforcement of Company Law - Use and Utility (PDF 4MB)
Grantee: K.J. Adby, formerly Solicitor/Director, Competition Policy Branch, Department of Business and Consumer Affairs
Criminology Research Council grant ; (13/81)
Over the past 25 years Special investigations, or 'Inspections' as they were originally called, have been used extensively in the enforcement of company law. The procedure has been used increasingly and in some jurisdictions this increase has resulted, even in a period of cut-backs and public spending austerity, to an unprecedented committal of resources. Despite the frequency of the use and the prominence which the procedure has gained, little attention has been paid to the provisions by commentators of company law. In addition, little factual material is available on the incidence of the appointment of inspectors and the consequences of their investigations.
From earlier research it was apparent that the objectives attributed to the Special investigation procedure and the expectations of the procedure held by inspectors, commentators and politicians were not consistent with the historical philosophy underlying the provisions. But specifically the actual use of the procedure and the result of investigations did not always fit comfortably with either the currently attributed or historical objectives and philosophies. In short, the machinery was not always being used for the purpose for which it was designed and not surprisingly the safeguards built into it often fell short of the desirable standard when measured against the actual use or purpose.
With this background the object of the study then was to collect, by the use of an attitudinal survey, data on what the commercial community perceived to be the purpose of the procedure; when it should be used and how effective it was. Secondly, it sought to compare and contrast those views with the historical philosophies behind the provisions and the actual use made of the procedure.
Respondents saw the procedure's underlying purposes as being first the protection of shareholders, secondly, the discovery of fraud and misfeasance and the protection of parties whose interest are most directly aligned to the companies' fortunes. There was general support for the provisions despite the fact that it was believed that the use of the procedure is sometimes abused and that only one purpose - the discovery or fraud and misfeasance - was being fulfilled by the actual use of the procedure.
Respondents also were less faint of heart than most commentators when considering the impact of the appointment of an inspector.
The conclusion that can be drawn from the study is that the actual use of the procedure varies considerably from historic objectives and philosophies but the commercial community, that is those most likely to be affected in some way by or involved in a Special Investigation, although sceptical as to the utility served in the past by the procedure, support its continued existence. There is general confidence in the use made of the procedure and in the inspectors appointed but what is lacking is a decisiveness in the making of appointments and publication of reports. Respondents appear to be prepared to suffer the inconveniences, the possible ,spin-off' and via the State to pay the monetary costs of such investigations provided that there is greater accountability through timely publication of reports and the outcome of the investigations. State involvement in the affairs of 'private bubbles', far from being opposed, is supported, and responses indicated that a more adventurous approach by Ministers would be tolerated.
Report title: Group Therapy for Men Violent Toward Their Mates (PDF 7.9MB)
Grantee: D.M. Wehner, Clinical Psychologist, Clovelly Park Community Health Centre, South Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (20/82)
This project entailed an exploration of' the causes of spouse abuse, interpretations of why men are violent, why women stay in violent relationships and the overall extent of the problem in Australia as opposed to America. It was argued that the victims of spouse abuse are primarily women and that limited services are provided to meet their needs. In Australia, the perpetrators of violence, men, are not meaningfully engaged in any type of behaviour change processes aimed at stopping their violent behaviour.
This project took the form of identifying men who used violence within their domiciliary relationship, and engaging them in a behaviour change process and evaluating whether the process was useful in helping the men stop their abusive behaviour. As men were identified and volunteered to participate in the project, separate structured interviews were conducted with the men and their partners. A substantial amount of information was solicited regarding their personal and family backgrounds as well as exploring the role violence played in their past and present relationships. Findings included:
- Far more men than women reported having had two or more serious relationships prior to the current one.
- More than 50 per cent of the men said they had been violent in previous relationships with women while 77 per cent of the women said that they had never experienced violence within a relationship prior to their current relationship.
- Men reporting prior use of violence had gone through the greatest number of relationships.
- Nearly 60 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women reported spousal violence in the childhood home.
- Less than 14 per cent of the men were perceived by themselves and their partners to have a drinking problem.
- When alcohol was a factor in violence (in most cases it was not a factor) the most frequent mode was when both partners were drinking. The men and women agreed that the men were drunk and violent in less than Io per cent of the violent incidents they reported.
- Both men and women agree that in over 70 per cent of the cases the men had been involved in other violence occurring outside the marital home.
- Men and women agree that three of the most common issues leading to violence were poor communication, children/ family problems, and his need to relieve his feelings.
- Men and women agree that slapping and spanking, kicking or biting, and pushing, grabbing and shaking were the most common forms of violence.
- After the violence most men were unhappy with their behaviour and remorseful but did not know how to stop the violence.
- When the men were children their fathers were more likely to use physical aggression in conflicts with them than were their mothers.
- The men as adults were significantly more likely 'to use physical aggression in conflicts than their mothers used with them as children.
- Both men and women agree that the men were significantly more likely than the women to use physical aggression in their mutual conflicts.
Note: Except where noted the number of male project participants was 40 and for women 31.
The men were randomly assigned to one of four groups. One group was based upon transactional analysis techniques, another focused on a behavioural skills building form of therapy. The third group featured a non-directive form of intervention similar to that employed by Alcoholics Anonymous while the fourth group was used as a control or delayed treatment group. Results included:
- The behavioural skills building group had the best completion rate (83 per cent as opposed to 50 per cent for the transactional analysis group and 0 per cent for the non-directive group).
- Nearly two-thirds of the men and women interviewed agreed that the violence did not occur during the period that the group met. The behavioural skills group had the greatest number of men who were able to stop their violence as reported by the men as well as the women.
- At a six-month follow-up interview gains made by the behavioural group appeared to have been sustained to a far greater extent than those made by the transactional analysis group based on reports from both men and women.
- A substantial non-response rate from participants assigned to groups three and four prohibited the comparisons necessary to conclude that behavioural interventions are in fact the best form of interventions in work with this clientele.
Caution is advised and more research is needed prior to recommending behavioural interventions without reservations.
As this project was designed as a pilot intervention it can be viewed as highly successful in terms of expanding our knowledge about domestic violence in Australia as well as identifying issues requiring further investigations. it was recommended that a Domestic Violence Response Team be established and operate within a specific geographic location (the Southern Sector of the South Australian Health Commission was proposed) in order to more thoroughly pursue domestic violence research. Such a team could further explore and identify more effective interventions with battered women and violent men as well as investigate and propose methods of dealing with the effects that spouse abuse may have on children. The team would also be involved in community intervention initiatives aimed at addressing the existing attitudes, beliefs and conditions which allow us to tolerate if not encourage spouse abuse within the community. The team would be evaluated in terms of its ability to research and provide effective interventions, expand community awareness of the cause and effects of domestic violence, and its ability to lower the incidence of domestic violence within its operational area.
Juvenile aid bureau: an evaluation of police involvement with juvenile offenders and child abuse in Queensland
Report titles: The Police Role in Child Protection in Queensland: An Evaluation of the Juvenile Aid Bureau's Work in Child Protection 1980-83 (PDF 6MB); Juvenile Aid Bureau: An Evaluation of Police Work with Juveniles 1970-83 (PDF 3MB)
Grantee: T.M. Lewis, Commissioner of Police, Queensland Police Department
Criminology Research Council grant ; (13/83)
This project resulted in the publication of two reports entitled 'The Police Role in Child Protection in Queensland: An Evaluation of the Juvenile Aid Bureau's Work in Child Protection 1980-83' and 'Juvenile Aid Bureau: An Evaluation of Police Work with Juveniles 1970-83'. The two reports were prepared by Dr Sally Leivesley, a private consultant.
The first study reported on child abuse in Queensland describing the epidemiology of child abuse in the State, indicators and characteristics of children and their abusing parents, and the Queensland Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) multi-disciplinary approach.
Results were based on an analysis of a sample of 400 out of 1,200 cases which came to notice 1980-83. Interviews and observations were also made of the police role in SCAN operations in Brisbane and other selected areas. A comprehensive study of the literature was also used to develop tables with over 600 indicators of child abuse (physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and drug abuse).
The sample of 400 children showed that an active police response was evident in 23 per cent of cases that came to notice. Over 7,000 children in Queensland were estimated to be at risk of abuse each year and the figures on police involvement suggested that nearly 6,000 of these children were not receiving active investigation. Fifty-five per cent of children coming to notice were over the age of three, and in 85 per cent of cases the abuse was chronic. The patterns of reporting to police was mostly from SCAN multi-disciplinary teams rather than the community. Seventy-six per cent of referrals came from SCAN compared to 4 per cent of cases reported to police by neighbours and friends. A further 4 per cent came from the child, parent or relative.
Recommendations from the report were for the police to:
- change the structure of the Juvenile Aid Bureau to centrally co-ordinate and supervise child abuse responses throughout Queensland;
- develop a Statewide child abuse information system and to include infant deaths;
- change police SCAN procedures in hospitals and the community to maximise decisions by joint investigating teams of police and welfare workers and thus reduce the time spent in conference decision-making;
- use a Child Abuse Operations Manual to standardise police operations throughout the State;
- extend existing police training to provide in-service facilities and joint training with the Department of Children's Services.
The second report provided an evaluation of police work with juveniles 1970-83. The analysis focused on 18,000 records of juveniles who came to the notice of the Juvenile Aid Bureau 1970-80. Recidivism rates were assessed to evaluate the role of Juvenile Aid Bureau contacts with juveniles in relation to reoffending. Juvenile records were searched from the date of first contact with the Juvenile Aid Bureau to 30 June 1980 thereby providing a history of re-offending that ranged from a few months to 10 years.
A low recidivism rate was found for the juveniles with only 15 per cent having one or more court charges and of this group only 7.6 per cent were found to have three of more court charges. This finding suggests that the small core group of recidivists was very low in relation to the overall rate of juvenile offending.
An assessment was also made of the pattern of offences and characteristics of juveniles in relation to later offending. This assessment used an earlier internal police study of nearly 4,000 juveniles as well as the records of the 18,000 juveniles.
The recidivism study found a pattern of offending in relation to age. Thirteen and 14-year-olds were the most common offenders and there was a decline in offending once the juveniles turned 15 and 16. Juvenile offending appeared to be a problem of children who had gone to high school and for a few short years indulged in anti-social behaviour, principally stealing, before maturing and accepting the adult values of respect for property and person. It appears to be a short-lived phenomenon requiring a costly expenditure of police and welfare resources. However, Juvenile Aid Bureau results show that juvenile offending can be well contained without costly court procedures.
Differences in the sex of juvenile offenders were found to be negligible but there were significant differences in reasons for contact as a higher percentage of female offenders were involved in stealing and males had a higher rate of break and enter offences. Females were also much less likely to become hard core recidivists (3 per cent compared to 12 per cent of males). A relationship between reason for the juveniles first coming to notice and re-offending was found with truancy, assault, and behaviour problems. Stealing showed no later relationship with re-offending.
In addition to the study of juveniles, police officers from within the Juvenile Aid Bureau and other parts of the force were asked to suggest areas for further development and their replies are tabulated.
The recommendations from the study of juvenile offending covered:
- The development of an administrative model of the Juvenile Aid Bureau.
- Target programs giving priority to deployment of officers to schools and commercial areas based on numbers of juveniles aged 12-16.
- Administrative planning at the State level for extension of Juvenile Aid Bureau positions to all areas and deployment on the basis of numbers of juveniles aged 12-16.
- A juvenile information system using computerisation to reduce officers' time in completing forms, as well as providing central statistical information on juvenile offending.
- Training on juvenile offending to be introduced early in police courses and included within in-service courses so that the philosophy of the Juvenile Aid Bureau is developed throughout the State.
- internal research programs within the Police Department under guidance of a Research Committee to provide longitudinal information on the recidivism, and to develop prevention programs.